Is it too early to hand out the 2011-12 MVP award yet?
Well, is it at least too early to name the leader in the clubhouse?
Step up, Tyson Chandler. No, not for the seven points and three rebounds in the Knicks’ win over the Celtics.
It’s more a case of what he didn’t do in Dallas. That is: anything.
After all, isn’t the definition of MVP: the ultimate difference-maker? And the absence of Chandler certainly made a huge difference in Dallas.
Without their defensive stopper in the middle, the Mavs looked like a door that was left wide open in their season-opening loss to Miami. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade treated the lane like a welcome mat and practically wiped their feet on the defending champions.
“Defense wasn’t there,” said Brendan Haywood, who was the primary culprit, taking over Chandler’s spot at center. “We got beat in transition. It wasn’t indicative of Mavs’ basketball that won a championship last year. We got a lot of work to do. But not a lot of time.”
The Mavs are back at work immediately, taking on Denver right back at American Airlines tonight. Dallas hasn’t started a season 0-2 since the 2006-07 season. If it happens, chances are the Mavs will be looking around mightily for their early candidate for this season’s MVP award – and it ain’t Dirk Nowitzki.